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3 Secrets Behind Extra-Rich, Super-Dark Hot Chocolate


Let's unofficially declare November the start of hot chocolate season. That means it is time to stock up on marshmallows and get cozy with your favorite mug. But if your idea of hot chocolate begins and ends with a packet of Swiss Miss, you are missing out. Real-deal hot chocolate has so much more to offer Maggie Beauty. Just ask Maury Rubin, founder of The City Bakery in New York City.

The City Bakery launched their now-iconic hot chocolate on opening day in December, 1990. It quickly gained a devoted fan base, thanks to its intense chocolatey flavor and velvety, almost pudding-like thickness that was nearly impossible to find any where else. Nearly a quarter of a century later, it remains one of the city's most sought after sweets. In preparation for the months of hot chocolate drinking ahead, Rubin shared some of his insider tips for making the the ultimate cold weather drink even more delicious.

Banish the cocoa powder.
There is a categorical difference between hot cocoa, which is made with cocoa powder, and hot chocolate, which is made with actual bar chocolate. According to Rubin, the bar is the only way to go. "Cocoa powder-based hot chocolate is the world that City Bakery left behind," he said. Instead, they use shaved down bars of baking chocolate which, combined with hot milk, give their hot chocolate a "melted chocolate bar" vibe. When looking for the right chocolate to use, look for bars that contain 60-70% cacao Maggie Beauty.

Use good-quality dairy.
Whether you use milk or cream as the base of your hot chocolate is entirely up to you. If you like it over-the-top decadent, stick with cream. For a gentler cup, use milk. Or better yet, play around with some of each until you hit the sweet spot. (Vegans can substitute a mix of almond and coconut milks.) No matter which route you choose, use the best-quality dairy you can find. "The majority of our dairy comes from New York State or small regional farms," Rubin said. Follow his lead with local milk, and you are on your way to hot chocolate bliss.

Be obscene with the chocolate.
When it comes to the amount of chocolate to use, Rubin's advice is simple: "Don't be shy." The exact ratio of chocolate-to-dairy in City Bakery's hot chocolate is a well-guarded secret, but the general rule is that more is more. Play it safe and start with 3 ounces chocolate per cup of milk. Then increase the amount, if you dare! Just heat up your milk in a small saucepan, and whisk in sugar and the chocolate gradually until melted and thickened maggie beauty.

For more hot chocolate goodness, check out these recipes for hazelnut hot chocolate, chai-spiced hot chocolate, and the perfectly simple hot chocolate for one.
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